UnionsACT ‘concerned’ at reports ACT Govt will divert club community contributions to corporate charity

Reports that the ACT Government is considering diverting part or all of the clubs community contributions to the Hands Across Canberra corporatised charity are concerning, said UnionsACT today.

Yesterday, Fairfax reported that Chief Minister Andrew Barr is looking to “divert a portion of the compulsory “community contributions” from clubs into his new charitable fund”.

UnionsACT criticised the manner in which the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund was established in the 2019 Budget, including handing $5 million to an unaccountable corporate charity.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“UnionsACT is concerned that the ACT Government appears to want to hand over the clubs’ community contributions to an unaccountable, unelected corporate charity.

“There is a serious democratic deficit in handing over substantial public funds from the community contributions to Hands Across Canberra, a charity governed by corporate executives. It is a form of privatisation whereby funding decisions would be made by a board principally made up of corporate executives.

“If the reports are correct, this would be a regressive decision by the ACT Government, at a time when corporate governance is demonstrably failing the public interest.

“There is no doubt that the current community contribution systems could be improved.

“The proposed creation of the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund, including a $5 million gift of public funds and now millions more from community contributions has the appearance of a vanity project that will be of little consolation to the thousand low paid, casualised staff in the clubs sector.

“We hope the reports are incorrect, and that the ACT Government sees the deeply problematic nature of the proposal to divert the contributions to a corporate charity.”